I originally posted this article about Rheumatoid Arthritis and the Chinese herb known as Thunder God Vine about a year ago. Since new research on this herb has just been published and I am continually asked how Rheumatoid Arthritis can be helped with herbal medicine, it's time for a re-post.
The new research from John Hopkins School of Medicine isolated an extract in the traditional Chinese medicinal plant also known as lei gong teng, which works by blocking gene control machinery in the cell. The research was published in the March issue of Nature Chemical Biology, and suggests that the natural product could be a starting point for developing new anticancer drugs.
"Extracts of this medicinal plant have been used to treat a whole host of conditions and have been highly lauded for anti-inflammatory, immuno-suppressive, contraceptive and anti-tumor activities," says Jun O. Liu, Ph.D., a professor of pharmacology and molecular sciences at Johns Hopkins. "We've known about the active compound, triptolide, and that it stops cell growth, since 1972, but only now have we figured out what it does."
But the RNAPII enzyme complex actually requires the assistance of several smaller clusters of proteins, according to Liu, which required more investigative narrowing down. If you choose to read the whole article there's a link at the bottom. As the researchers discover more on triptolide they also discover that plants have more than one active chemical constituent. When they try to isolate one protein so they can patent a drug and sell it for billions, they often find it's not so easy because plants have many chemical components that work together and isolation of a single solitary protein will not necessarily give the same desired effect as when the whole plant is used.
Plants/herbs can not be patented. This is why there is so much new research on herbal medicine that have been used for thousands of years. Research, such as this at John Hopkins, is not looking to validate the effects of Chinese herbal medicine, they are looking for plant compounds that can be isolated and then reproduced as drugs. Drugs that can sell for millions. In comparison to a new drug, thunder god vine and other Chinese herbs cost pennies and they work.
If your suffering with Rheumatoid Arthritis or know someone who is read on.
A study was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in August 2009 on a Chinese herb used for rheumatoid arthritis, (RA). This study found that after six months of taking this herbal remedy more patients in the Chinese herb group had improved, than the group taking a sulfasalazine.
The Chinese herb used in this study was a single herb known as Lei Gong Teng or Thunder God Vine. Herbal remedies such lei gong teng or in latin Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F (TwHF) have been used and documented for treating inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. It’s understandable that people with RA are looking to treat their disease with herbal remedies such as Chinese Medicine and Chinese herbs because Western medicine has no cure for RA, only symptomatic relief with many side effects to the medications.
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